Giving Thanks for WHAT?!?

At this time of year, we tend to focus on family. For some, this is good news, for others – not so much!

I’d like to encourage you to also take some time to focus on and give thanks for your job – but not in the way you might think. Certainly you are enlightened enough to be thankful for what your paycheck allows you to have – a roof over your head, a bed to sleep in, food on your table, etc.

Without question, a job allows you to sustain life in terms of your bodily needs. Once those are met, a job serves an even more important function – it summons life force to you and through you. Without work, the likelihood that you would die much younger (or wish you could) is pretty strong.

When I say life force, I am being literal. Anyone who walks the earth has life force. It’s that mysterious difference between being alive or dead. Have you noticed, however, how much the intensity of it varies?

Think about it. Don’t you know people who have an amazing amount of energy? They teem with it. They infuse others.

Contrast them with people for whom just staying awake seems an extreme effort!

Some of the latter have problems, to be sure. The homeless or those with disabilities spring to mind. One of the most difficult components of how we support people with disabilities is that we often make it impossible for them to receive support AND to work. Without the structure of work (and volunteer work most definitely counts), life force begins to ebb, quite dramatically.

Jobs provide structure. The moment we open our eyes in the morning, we begin to summon life force just to have enough energy to get dressed and show up. We do it because we know we need that paycheck to meet our needs. I, for one, like to eat!

Have you noticed that your energy increases as you move through your day? Of course, some of you cheat and use artificial boosters (I’m convinced that Starbucks isn’t selling coffee – they are selling life force in a cup).

Coffee aside, the reason your energy increases is because you have something to focus on and things that must get done. When do you feel most alive? Isn’t it when you are working hard on a project or task? Don’t you love the satisfaction of completion? Doesn’t the mere act of checking things off your list give you an energy boost?

If your boss is the one who assigned you that task or project, then that is who deserves your gratitude for helping you to summon life force.

Sitting with nothing to do is when you are most susceptible to unhappy thoughts and feelings. People think I’m crazy when I tell them I’m much happier during the week than on the weekend but there are many studies to prove I’m not the only one. During the week, I am alive with all the things that must get done. On weekends, I sort of wake up when I feel like it, take a shower when the day’s half over and then wait to be inspired to be productive – in short, my life force tank is only about ¼ full! When I’ve planned things to do, I’m up and showered and full of energy!

The unhappiest people I know are those with the least to do. With little to do, they make it their hobby to find things to complain about. A wise sage once said, “Seek and ye shall find.” There is nothing easier to find than something wrong.

The happiest people I know are working the most. We were put on this earth to work. It is a need as strong as the need to breathe. Do you think Bill Gates works because he needs the money? What about Martha Stewart or Oprah? If you’re cynical, you think they’re happy because they’re rich. Actually, they are happy because they are full of life force. Life force is what separates the dead from the living and those who approach work with gratitude and vigor are more alive than most (and often much richer, too)!

This Thanksgiving, hug your boss. She/he is helping you to summon life force – and that’s something to be very thankful for!

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